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Toolbox for Cross-Border Healthcare

The toolbox of the European Commission contains relevant information on the legal framework of cross-border healthcare - including checklists for patients, Patient Organisations and healthcare providers.

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What does my doctor or dentist have to consider before treatment?

In order to be able to treat you successfully, your doctor or dentist needs information from you. Before treating you, he/she must inform you in an understandable manner of all important circumstances related to the treatment. He/she must furthermore obtain your consent for each physical intervention, except in an emergency.

In order to ensure an optimum outcome of the treatment, your doctor or dentist and you have to discuss the individual elements of the treatment together.

Information and notification obligations of your German doctor or dentist

If the doctor or dentist has made a diagnosis, he/she must inform you in a comprehensible manner of all important circumstances relating to the treatment, such as on the types of therapy available, your risks and the side-effects that are to be anticipated.

The medical professional providing treatment must also inform you in writing of the amount of the fee due to him/her. He/she must inform you that you will initially have to meet the costs yourself.

As a patient, you must inform your doctor or dentist in good time of the circumstances which are significant for the treatment. This is the only way in which your doctor or dentist can obtain a comprehensive picture of your state of health and suitably take it into account when planning and implementing the treatment.

Prior to any physical intervention, the doctor or dentist is obliged to inform you in a comprehensible manner of the scope, chances, dangers and alternatives of the treatment. This consultation should enable you to take a decision. If you do not speak any German, the consultation should take place in a language which you understand. You can bring along a person who speaks the language or an interpreter. However, you will have to pay the translation and interpretation costs yourself. We can only strongly urge you to do so rather than agreeing to treatment without being fully aware of all the risks and alternatives.

Your doctor or dentist should give you copies of the documents signed by you during the consultation.


Once the consultation has taken place, your doctor or dentist is obliged to obtain your consent before any physical intervention. To this end, your doctor or dentist must explicitly and unmistakeably ask you whether you consent to the intervention. The medical professional providing treatment may obtain your written consent. However, your oral consent is also sufficient, or indeed conduct permitting the medical professional providing treatment to conclude beyond a doubt that you consent to the treatment. You only have to make a written living will in the case of the cessation of life-preserving treatment.

The medical professional providing treatment must document the fact that you gave your consent in the medical file. Otherwise, it could be presumed in any medical malpractice proceedings against the medical professional providing treatment that consent had not been given. Treatment should not have been provided in such cases, so that you may be able to assert a damage claim.

If however there is a danger for your life and your health, you are no longer (fully) conscious and need to be treated as an emergency case, your doctor or dentist does not need to obtain consent. In this case, a doctor or dentist must ascertain your implicit will, that is, your individual interests, wishes, needs and values. If the doctor or dentist has no concrete indications with regard to your presumed will, he/she will assume that you wish his/her assistance.

You can have your doctor or dentist give you copies of the documents which you have signed in the consent process.

Documents and Links



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Finding healthcare providers

You will find here a list of links to search engines available on the Internet, with explanations

Regional sources of information

You are living in a border region and you are searching for further regional information sources. Click here for an overview of institutions that could be helpful.

National information media

You will find more national information available here if you want to find out what treatment is available for specific diseases, or if you need further information on the topic of health.


Information on treatment in Germany at a glance

Advice on patients’ rights

Brochure from the Federal Government Commissioner for Patients’ Affairs